National Poetry Month, a Novel, and Now

Throughout the month of March many of us took part in a literary version of March Madness, daily working our way toward an assortment of writing-related goals. Now April has arrived, bringing with it National Poetry Month, and a new daily challenge — reading a poem a day.

Sunny Tree

The challenge was dished out to me by Sandra Heska King and her allies at TweekspeakPoetry.com. Who can deny having time to read just one poem each day? I already read a portion of scripture and the poetry of the Psalms. How hard could it be to fit in a few more verses? Of course, one could jump in with more of a commitment and write a poem a day, but that would stretch my poetry moments into poetry hours, and end up overshadowing the other writing I want to do. I know my limits.

Each day I spend a chunk of time working on the new novel I began last month, but my tortoise-like progress reminds me of how easy it is to let other activities obscure that priority. I have writer friends who hold down full-time jobs, homeschool their children, and still cope with the deadlines of multiple book contracts. I’m always in awe of Ruth Logan Herne who daycares a houseful of children, prepares material for and monitors two daily group blogs (in addition to her own website), has chickens, and dogs, and goodness knows what else, but is consistently up and writing by 5:00 a.m. every morning, getting her couple hours in before the rest of her household awakens and her ‘other’ workday begins. My days are mostly empty, but I get much less done. It’s all about priorities, having goals, and not letting them become lost behind other attention-grabbing pursuits. Oh, and knowing how to juggle a bit doesn’t hurt.

I watched a video yesterday and one statement in it really hit me: “It is always now.” Yesterday is an unchangeable memory. We may wait for tomorrow, hoping for our situation to get better, easier, or improve in some other way, but each moment we live is our NOW. We will never get this moment back to do over. What we want to accomplish tomorrow will only happen if we work towards it today… beginning right now.

Do you have any desires or goals that are being eclipsed by other things? What are you doing to try and achieve them?

~  ~  ~

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8 thoughts on “National Poetry Month, a Novel, and Now

  1. I’m working on my 4th book, the 3rd in a trilogy. Writing time has shrunk because of my Mom’s broken hip, but she takes priority. I try to squeeze it in whenever I can.

    • Carol says:

      Sometimes there are life situations that simply have to take precedence, and I’m sure your mother appreciates the extra T.L.C. right now. You know it will be a temporary thing, and your book will get written in due time.

  2. elderfox says:

    Wow Carol, that “each moment we live is our NOW” really sat me up in my chair! I never thought that yesterday, or that the past hours of this morning, being an unchangeable memory shocks my reality–rather mind boggling to say the least….

    • Carol says:

      I thought the message was profound in its simplicity. One of those “duh” things that we don’t always think of despite how obvious they are.

  3. Dry your eyes and take your song out, it’s a newborn afternoon.
    And if you can’t recall the singer you can still recall the tune.
    Dry your eyes and play it slowly like you’re marching off to war;
    sing it like you know he’d want it, like we sang it once before.
    And from the center of the circle to the midst of the waiting crowd,
    if it ever be forgotten sing it long and sing it loud and come dry your eyes.

    I’d like to write proses like Neil Diamond did above. I’d like my stories to move my readers the way his songs move me. But life gets in the way. Seems I’m spending way too much time housekeeping. Carol! I need a housekeeper, cook, and bottle washer!

    • Carol says:

      Comparing ourselves to those we admire is so easy to do, but it can be self-defeating because we aren’t those people. We’re ourselves… unique in how we were created and in what we are able to create. I sympathize with you when it comes to those never-ending household chores. They always seem to demand our first efforts and the writing is relegated to leftover time. Maybe you need to utilize a spreadsheet to define just how much time you’re going to allow for each daily task! (If it works, let me know. LOL.)

  4. Laura Best says:

    I often wish to be more productive in my writing. During the winter months i have more time to write but don’t often accomplish any more than those times i’m working. I really want to start submitting some short stories again. I even have some dusty old files I can pick and choose from. I have to remind myself that I can’t keep up with some of my writing friends in terms of productivity, but that’s okay. I can only go at my own pace. :)

    • Carol says:

      Keeping up with someone else’s version of productivity means we’d have to be comparing ourselves with them, and I don’t see value in that. I think it’s good to identify the pace that is right for us, as long as we don’t make excuses and let ‘good enough’ become our norm.

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